“Sexuality shouldn’t define anyone. It doesn’t define me. Love should be at the core of what you do!”
– Jessie J, songwriter
“Then, who are you mad at?”
Marcel sat slouched in the chair displaying many the typical behaviours of clinical depression. He was discouraged, distracted and seemed stuck inside his own thoughts. He had come to see me because his brother told him he was very irritable, grouchy and jumping at him. When his brother had asked him what was wrong, Marcel had no answer for him.
Marcel was single, unattached, handsome man in his mid thirties. He had a good job managing a classy restaurant. And, he was good at it…well respected by his employees… and his customers. While, he appeared in good physical health, slim and trim…mentally, it was another matter, entirely.
Marcel was very close to his brother, Claude, who was three years older. Claude was married to Adele and they had two young children, Josh and Joelle, who were very fond of their Uncle Marcel. It was Marcel’s tight relationship with his niece and nephew which had alerted Claude to Marcel’s depressive behaviours. When he expressed his concern to Marcel about his moodiness with the kids …this was the final straw, which motivated Marcel to seek assistance, beyond the medications, which his physician has prescribed, many months earlier.
I asked Marcel what was on his mind that was bothering him so much? He replied, in an irritated way,
“Well, I’m certainly not mad at Josh and Joelle, I love those two kids!”
“Then, who are you mad at?” I said.
“Ken, I really don’t know!” he replied, in a softer voice.
“It sounds like there is a…really big gap, which you’re not addressing.”
“Well, often external targets mask internal targets, which are too scary and confusing to deal with…is that what’s going on here, Marcel? I asked.
“Well, I do seem to spend a lot of time beating myself up!” he replied.
“About what, Marcel?”
“Just about everything, and anything!”
“But, what are the most common ones you notice?”
“Ken, I have a great job, people I enjoy working with, close friends and family, and good health…I have no reason to be down on myself…but, I am doing just that.”
“It sounds like there is a gap…and a really big gap, which you’re not addressing…what is it, Marcel?”
He paused, looked down for a second, then up at the ceiling for another second, then his eyes glistened.
“Ken, when I’m with Joelle and Josh…their so beautiful. I want kids of my own. I want a partner…I want my own family… just like Claude.”
“What is stopping you, Marcel?” I asked.
“I’m gay, Ken!”
“So, what’s stopping you, Marcel?” I asked, again.
“… are you saying I have a distorted sense of myself…”
“I’m not even out to my family, I’m not out at work…I’m still hiding who I am!”
“No wonder you are depressing…are you angry at yourself, for not being true to yourself?”
“That sums it up exactly! But, if I was out, I would never find a partner who wants kids the way I do. The gay guys I know, who are out, seem to be more interested in their career and their social life. They seem to pity parents with kids…while, I envy them.”
It sounds like there are two challenges facing you…being gay and being a parent. Which needs your attention first, Marcel?”
“Probably being gay. I really don’t know why I’m not out to my family and friends. It’s not like it was ten years ago, and I really think my family and friends would be fine with it…but I am still hesitating to put myself out there as a gay guy!”
“Marcel, it sounds like you haven’t noticed the benefits of being gay…you have been focused on the costs…like, for example, making it more difficult to be a parent. Whatever our sexual orientation, it is a two sided coin, with equal costs and benefits. But, if we only see one side, or one side more than the other, we are at a disadvantage, and spent time in either, handicapping fantasies or nightmares, about ourselves.”
“Ken, are you saying I have a distorted sense of myself, with an exaggerated focus on my sexual orientation?”
“…see ourselves as we actually are…as sexual beings whose boundaries are inscribed, not by gender or anatomy, and certainly not by anything as contrived as sexual identity, but by pleasure and emotional opportunity.”
– Bert Archer, writer
“…a narrow view of my sexuality…is actually creating my depressive behaviours?”
“What do you think, Marcel? Over 15 years ago, Bert Archer, wrote an interesting book entitled “The End of Gay” in which he talks about the limitations of the “either or” approach to ourselves. And, of course, the research talks, not about an “either or” of human sexuality, but rather, of a continuum, a range of sexuality, influenced by many factors including genetics, environment, personal values and culture.”
“Are you suggesting I have been taking a narrow view of my sexuality which is actually creating my depressive behaviours?”
“What do you think? My best guess is, you already know, at least one other gay guy, who would like to be a parent, besides you…but you haven’t been noticing that person. Is that true, Marcel?” I asked.
He paused for a moment, then he replied, “That is true, actually! There is a man, Kevin, who lives in my building who leads an openly gay lifestyle. Every Halloween he goes all out for the kids with decorations and treats. I remember, he commented to me at a Christmas party last year, how lucky he was to live here, because it was like having his own children.”
I replied, “Marcel, there are lots of people like Kevin around, but you haven’t been noticing them. Are you interested in broadening your perception of yourself, quickly and effectively?”
“Are you saying, I have a distorted sense of myself which is generating my moodiness?”
“Yep, I am!”
“So, if, I could learn to have a more realistic sense of myself, maybe then, I could be myself, more. And, if there are gay men out there, who want children, like me, maybe then, I would notice them, eh?”
“Marcel, it sounds like it would inspire you forward, in your life. Are you ready to begin right now?”
“I sure am, Ken! Let’s get started!” he replied enthusiastically.
“I have never thought about my sexuality as being right or wrong. To me has always been about finding the right person.”
– George Michael, entertainer
“I’ve moved from being pessimistic to being cautiously optimistic…”
“I want you to write down the five traits, or behaviours, about you, which you most dislike. And, remember to include your perceived gay traits or behaviours. Then, write down the five traits, or behaviours, about you, which you most like.
And, so Marcel’s work began. He was a quick study. He soon had it figured out. He realized, he was infatuating Claude’s life, thinking, he had more pleasure than pain, while resenting his own, thinking, he had more pain than pleasure. As he uncovered the truth of both Claude’s life, and his own, he began to appreciate the two sides to each. This dissolved much of his confusion and depressive behaviour.
As Marcel grew his appreciation for himself, it trickled over into his life. He eventually came out to his family and friends. And, as he had predicted, they were quite OK with Marcel being Marcel, regardless of what form it took. He also got to know Kevin, his neighbour, better. And, Kevin’s circle of friends included several people who were gay parents, or striving to be. This opened up all kinds of possibilities for Marcel.
At one point he commented to me, “I’ve moved from being pessimistic to being cautiously optimistic about becoming a future parent.”
“Remain centred, and let neither elation nor depression, distract you!” – King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
Now you know, if you don’t see a perfect genius in the mirror, then you probably have a distorted sense of your self. Find out where the distortion lies. If it’s a nightmare, start listing all the benefits. If it’s a fantasy, start listing all the costs. Keep at it until you uncover the truth…that your one sided perception has another side, an opposite side, which once you’ve uncovered it, frees you to be who you are, as you are!
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Our next seminar, “A Transformation Day!” will focus on relationships. It will be on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at our offices. Details are available at ww.kenpiercepsychologist.com
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
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